Daniel resigns as boys basketball coach at Saxony

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

John Daniel, the Saxony Lutheran boys basketball coach for the past six years, submitted his resignation letter Sunday. The search for his replacement will begin shortly.

Daniel stated in his letter that he has no immediate plans to coach, is starting a hedge fund and will spend more time on a biodiesel investment.

He decided to step down because he wanted to be more available to attend the activities of his six children and to free up time for his wife to become more involved as an activist for families with autistic children.

"I do not intend to put a resume together, and honestly have no plans to coach again, unless I someday find a way to do it in a family friendly way," Daniel wrote.

When Daniel first accepted his position at Saxony, he also worked as enrollment director and athletic director. He served as an assistant basketball coach at Southeast Missouri State, Washington University and Notre Dame Regional High School before taking the position at Saxony Lutheran.

He led the Crusaders to 20-win seasons the past three years. He also coached Saxony to its first district basketball championship with a 66-52 win over Puxico on Feb. 28. The Crusaders' 2007-08 season ended with a 46-41 loss to New Haven in the sectional round.

Daniel helped increase enrollment from 19 students in his first year to 158 this year.

"It wasn't about the basketball when I came to Saxony, and it is not about the basketball now that I am leaving," Daniel wrote. "We all wore a lot of hats in the early days, and I honestly came to Saxony because I felt God's call to be the enrollment director and athletic director. I have often said that God just let me coach so I could have a little fun along the way."

Saxony athletic director Larry Cleair said he had no idea Daniel was going to resign.

"It really hit me as a complete surprise," Cleair said. "I wasn't expecting it at all. ... He had a great record and did a nice job of running the basketball team. The kids knew what to expect from him every game, and always went in with confidence and a good game plan to attack every game.

"[The position] is open. We've got a couple teaching jobs we hope to [fill]. We're expanding our faculty. So we're going to be looking for teachers, and if they have the skill and the talent to coach, we'd love that."

Cleair said the school will first look to the Lutheran university system and publicize the opening in Lutheran newsletters in the hopes of finding a replacement.

"Those would be our first two options," he said. "If not, we'll open it up. Again, hopefully, we'll find someone who can do it and be a staff person. But if not, then we'll have to open it up the community and see."

Daniel also stated that although it is difficult for him to leave Saxony, he is at peace with his decision.

"Every class at Saxony is special to me in one way or another, and I know that I could always find a reason to stay just one more year, and then another one more year ... forever," Daniel wrote.

"This year's senior class is the last class to have gone to school in the activity center at my church, and the last to experience anything close to Saxony's humble beginning," Daniel added. "As they leave Saxony, I know that it is time for me to leave as well. Sooner or later the old guys like me need to get out of the way and make room for those who can be more focused on the future of Saxony and less focused on its past."

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